Reading books with children to build bridges and break down borders

Being in the company of educators from around the world at the ECIS conference in Nice, France  gave me renewed energy and faith in the ability of language—specifically literature, to bridge the cultural divide. Those of us who work in education have an amazing opportunity and responsibility to offer children all forms of literature that build bridges and break down borders.

Locked In, a poem by the Swedish poet Ingemar Leckius humorously mocks those who shut themselves off from other worlds.

All my life I lived in a coconut.
It was cramped and dark,
especially in the morning when I had to shave.
But what pained me most was that I had no way
to get in touch with the outside world.
If no one out there happened to find the coconut,
if not one cracked it, then I was doomed
to live all my life in the nut, and maybe even die there…
A person who chooses to live in a coconut!
Such a person is one in a million!
But I have a bother-in-law who
lives in an


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